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Volume 19 Issue 7 - April 2014

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together. And because of

together. And because of the proximity to Toronto, it could expand toan 80-, 90-piece orchestra because the commercial scene in Torontowas so vibrant, second only at the time to New York City because ofthe Canadian content. I kind of diverge here but Canadian contentrules meant that you couldn’t just drag an American Coca-Cola adup to Canada and put it on TV, you had to redo it. So we had a veryactive musician base right here. That gave the opportunity to have fullfledgedorchestra concerts; you could do Rachmaninov and Mahlerand so forth and it’s quite possible. But it was based on this 20-pieceprofessional core that actually lived in Hamilton and was going outinto the schools.And so how were you recruited – when did you actually start withHamilton? Well, Gene Watts, our trombonist, had been talking to theOntario Arts Council, at that time Lou Appelbaum was running theArts Council. And Lou really had his ear to the ground, he understoodwhat was happening here. And he and Gene were discussingthis, and Lou said, they really need a spearhead for this program,because they have the idea, they’ve got the musicians, but now theyreally need to make it work. And he thought, this would be perfectfor Gene to latch into this. Because Gene had put together at thatpoint a quartet without a tuba; he’d been trying to figure out howto put a group together, and he went to Hamilton and actually theytook him on to do the school part of that residency. So that’s whereI came in, I became the fifth part. I met Gene very early that fall, in1970. I thought I was auditioning him to put a group together becauseI was at the University of Toronto [and] I thought wouldn’t it be greatto have a resident ensemble. And meanwhile he’s thinking we reallyneed a tuba player to make this thing work, so we were both lookingat each other like, hmm let’s consider this … and became lifelongfriends ever since.You mentioned the Czech String Quartet; this was a group that hadpre-existed in Prague prior to the Soviet invasion and they’d left atthat time? You know, I don’t actually know, but I do know they hada position at McMaster University, that was part of the deal. So forthem they had a teaching position plus the orchestra. Marta Hidy wasthe concertmistress and she as well had this dual appointment. Forus it was a little different. I was teaching at the university and Genewas very involved in the New Music Concerts with Bob Aitken, veryinvolved with that. So we were able to piece this together in variousways and make this go. But what was unique at that time was, wewere on the ground floor of really what’s become a brass explosion.We were very fortunate in that we did not have a peer group here inCanada. There weren’t people standing in the wings telling us whatwe needed to play. So we didn’t get trapped into this very small repertoirefor brass that really was a dead end for brass groups, particularlyin the States. We were only allegiant to the audience. We knew we hadto build an audience, and we had to find music that could make thatpossible. So we took a masterpiece approach; we thought if we weregoing to borrow music, it might as well be the very, very best. Andwe set out, on the one hand commissioning. We’ve commissionedover 70 major works. That doesn’t mean they automatically get on theconcert stage, in fact quite the opposite. The likelihood of a masterpieceshowing up is slim. Out of those 70 works, maybe we have fouror five that we would say are really lasting the test of time. And meanwhilewe have the Bach and the Handel and so forth that we’ve raidedand we’ve put together repertoire, and Hamilton was a perfect placeto experiment.So, you were teaching at the Faculty of Music, Gene was alreadyconnected in with Betty Webster and the Hamilton Plan … Oddlyenough, he was just going to Hamilton. In fact when I got to Toronto tostart teaching I had a friend here that was in the orchestra at the timeand he had tipped me off. He said, you know, when you’re lookingaround for things to do for playing you should contact the HamiltonOrchestra. He said, I see the Hamilton Orchestra on television morethan the Toronto Symphony. Because they had CHCH down there thatwas doing a lot of stuff. So I did, I called and they said, well, just byluck we need a tuba player down here, why don’t you come out andplay for us. So the very first rehearsal was also the first rehearsal forthis idea of the brass group being in Hamilton. So we met virtuallyat the same time and coming from quite different perspectives, butThe Canadian Brass: (clockwise from left) Caleb Hudson, BernhardScully, Chris Coletti, Chuck Daellenbach, Achilles crystallized. And it gave the Brass a home base. It meant we didn’thave to run off and do five different things and then get together at 1a.m. And we’ve said this many times, in fact the New York Times wasquite interested in this concept; we said we really got our training… we got to Carnegie Hall playing children’s concerts. We’re probablythe only professional group in the world that ever looked at children’sconcerts as an opportunity to improve as artists. It’s usuallysharing your art and so forth, you’re looking down on kids and saying,“Oh kids, how can we help you?” We looked at the opposite. It’s like,“We’re here, how can you help us? Tell us, we need to know! Is thisa piece of music that you like?” And they would tell you, not usingthose words, but you knew very quickly if your music was connectingor not, and it was a fantastic laboratory.And if you could win a gymnasium in Burlington, Carnegie Hallwould be easy pickings afterward. Right.You were talking about repertoire, finding pieces that fit the voicesof the instruments and not being bound into a tiny little cluster ofmusic … so who carried the burden of the arranging in those earlyyears while you were building your repertoire?CD: Well, ... Gene had as a musician a very unusual insight intowhat was needed, and when we would make 0 as a group hewould hold back , let’s say, kind of for research and development.So we always had a little bit of money to hire writers, so we hadprofessional writers working with us. Very early on, a very importantwriter for us was Howard Cable. Cable was such a known entityalready, and Howard, the music’s already in his head, he just needs toget it on the paper. He’s like Mozart, it just flows. So he wrote somevery important works for us in the early years.And then Fred Mills joined our group. Fred had grown up in Guelphand spent about ten years in New York City. Came back to play inthe Ballet Orchestra, ended up in the National Arts Centre, he wasthe principal trumpet when they opened up in 69. And he was quitemotivated to join us. He brought along a love of opera for example,and he was a very fine arranger. And the two things that cametogether there was that he had played with Stokowski, in Houston,Texas, he had been his principal trumpet. And Stokowski of coursewas known himself for arranging. He’d do Bach’s Toccata and Fuguewith the orchestra, and so these are well-known arrangements thatgot him into film.This had a very big influence for Fred and he wanted to do similarthings for the brass quintet, for example the Toccata and Fugue whichis now probably the number one standard [for] brass quintet. Everygroup in the world owns and plays Fred’s arrangement of Toccata andFugue, it’s absolutely the number one most important piece in therepertoire. ... When we first met up with that piece it seemed impossible,we thought this would not be possible. Now kids grow up withit and they just think it’s, as you would expect, normal.So the Toccata and Fugue…looking through your videos onYouTube, it’s jaw-dropping these days. What’s interesting in thatregard is the control you seem to have over your YouTube identity. Alot of artists don’t have that, you’re at the mercy of every handheldconcert cellphone video. But you’ve got over 80 videos, which have12 | April 1 – May 7, 2014

2013.14 Concert SeasonKOERNER HALL’SFIFTH ANNIVERSARYKhatia BuniatishviliSUN., APR. 6, 2014 3PMKOERNER HALL“Buniatishvili’s technical prowessenables her to combine energywith precision at a level comparableto Argerich.” (Limelight) She willperform works by Liszt, Chopin,and Stravinsky.The Glenn GouldSchool NewMusic EnsembleTHURS., APR. 10, 2014 7:30PMCONSERVATORY THEATREBrian Current conducts theworld premiere of Behind theSound of Music, Nicole Lizée'smultimedia composition fororchestra and video.Atis Bankas withRobert McDonaldSUNDAY, APRIL 13, 2014 2PMMAZZOLENI CONCERT HALLGGS faculty violinist Atis Bankas sharesthe stage with American pianist andpedagogue Robert McDonald, whohas performed internationally andas musical partner to Isaac Stern,Midori, and many others.This program features works byDelius, Grieg, Elgar, and Britten.Royal ConservatoryOrchestra conductedby Uri Mayer withJaewon Kim andBeste KalenderFRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2014 8PMKOERNER HALLMaestro Uri Mayer leads the RCO,clarinetist Jaewon Kim andmezzo-soprano Beste Kalenderin a program that includes worksby R. Murray Schafer, Debussy,and Brahms.Terri Lyne Carrington’sMosaic ProjectSATURDAY, APRIL 26, 2014 8PMKOERNER HALLTerri Lyne Carrington (drums) leads anall-star cast of female musicians andtwo signature voices – Nona Hendryx(from LaBelle) and Carmen Lundy. Partof the TD Jazz: Celebrating Dinah andSarah concert series.Mariko AnrakuSUNDAY, APRIL 27, 2014 2 PMMAZZOLENI CONCERT HALLAssociate Principal Harp of theMetropolitan Opera Orchestraand GGS alumna Mariko Anrakuis joined by former teachers,harpist Judy Loman and GGS Deanand pianist James Anagnoson, in aprogram of solo and chamber works.TICKETS START AT ONLY ! 416.408.0208 www.performance.rcmusic.ca273 BLOOR STREET WEST (BLOOR ST. & AVENUE RD.) April 1 – May 7, 2014 | 13

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